Dissertation Abstracts

‘Staging Brazil’. Negotiating gender, race and meanings of Brazilianess in cultural activities in Los Angeles (2015-2016)

Author: Magali N. Alloatti, magalialloatti@gmail.com
Department: Sociology and political sciences
University: Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil
Supervisor: Ricardo Virgilino da Silva
Year of completion: 2017
Language of dissertation: Portuguese

Keywords: Brazilian migrants , Gender , Race , Ethnicity
Areas of Research: Migration , Women in Society , Local-Global Relations


This dissertation aims to analyze processes of identification formed, disputed and negotiated around Brazilian culture in Los Angeles during 2015-2016. Designed as a multi-sited ethnography, the fieldwork was conducted in several points of the city, “following” various cultural activities. Through these events, Brazilian women and men, as well as foreigners, build imagined “Brazils” based on dance festivals, carnivals and artistic shows. Utilizing a qualitative approach, I seek to examine negotiations around gender, race and Braziliannes identifying tensions influenced by the transnational circulations of meanings, cultural goods, people and practices. The subjects that participated in this research are mostly Brazilians, yet some American citizens were included, that share spaces and spectacles defined as ‘cultural scenes’. Due to the depth of ethnographic work, I structured my dissertation in four chapters. Firstly, I offer detailed information on the main spaces and agents I identified involved with Brazilian cultural activities in the city. I summarize some migratory trajectories and examine the cultural work of the Brazilian Consulate in Los Angeles. Chapter two brings an intersectional analysis of some of these cultural activities. Utilizing gender and its interaction with race and ethnicity, I delve into topics like prejudice, stigma, politics of the body and the image of the Brazilian woman. The third chapter offers a thorough exam on ethnic entrepreneurship, paying special attention to income, competition, ethnic and social class resources. The last chapter examines practices and narratives that legitimize positions and endorsed versions of samba, forró and Orixás dance. I do this by exploring local imaginaries and the role of agents who act as cultural mediators. The final remarks propose a discussion about the processes through which ethnic identities are negotiated and defined. Understanding these processes as fluid and ever changing, I concentrate in the articulation of gender and race in a transnational context providing new meanings of Brazilianess.